KENNY DALGLISH believes justice is getting closer for the families of the 96 supporters who died in the Hillsborough disaster.
The Liverpool manager will lead the mourners at today’s memorial service at Anfield to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.
The battle for justice has been long and painful but Dalglish is hopeful the truth will be revealed by the independent panel currently examining previously unseen documents relating to Hillsborough.
The panel, which was set up by the Labour Government in 2009 and is being chaired by James Jones, the bishop of Liverpool, is expected to complete its report later this year.
“I think it’s getting closer to some positive news for the families, but it’s taken them a long time to get to this point,” Dalglish said.
“Two years ago Andy Burnham (then Culture Secretary) came up to the service and promised to do the best he could to get access to some of the papers that weren’t due to be released for another three or four years.
“To the man’s great credit he has done that. They have got access to some papers now that they didn’t have before and need to file through them. That’s why I am saying it’s getting a bit more positive for them.
“Everyone knows how difficult it is for the people who lost someone. The sooner they get the justice for themselves the happier they will be and we will all be for them. We’re hoping that’s moving onwards and upwards now.”
Today will be the first memorial service Dalglish has attended as Liverpool manager since 1990 – a year after the disaster.
Back in 1989 he helped the club deal with the aftermath of Hillsborough, attending numerous funerals and providing support for the families.
Now back at the helm in his second spell as boss, the Scot insists it’s more important than ever those fans who didn’t return from Sheffield are remembered.
“I don’t think it will ever be removed from anybody and neither should it be. Nobody should ever forget it,” he added.
“It’s a significant day for every Liverpool supporter. Everyone knows what it means to the football club.
“It’s a day when we remember that 96 fans went to a football match and never came back. Obviously it’s more poignant for people more directly involved in losing someone.
“It’s a sad day and it’s a day etched in the minds of everyone connected with the club.
“It’s been so long there are a generation of our fans who were not born when Hillsborough happened but they are perfectly aware of what happened. I’m sure it will be in the forefront of their minds as well.”